The Valentines are still gobbling up the last of their sweet treats. C’mon Mommies, who can’t resist those yummy chocolate marshmallow hearts? Even I can admit that!
In all seriousness, we are about to officially land on that sunny, exciting journey that steers our helpless hands to a never-ending path of pigging out. The “Spring” time of year is about to begin, when literally everyone is invited to endless barbeques and parties that try to fill our six-packs with too much food. Empty calorie-packed gatherings on the weekend, at the pool and on the beach disguise our biggest diet distractions ready to attack, not to mention pastel-colored holidays, studded with yummy candies and sweets.
Like me, I do not doubt that many of you spend countless hours in the gym, each and every week, aspiring to metamorphosis your physique into something statuesque and spectacular. Justifying that donut that you secretly inhaled by adding 20-minutes of extra cardio on the treadmill just doesn’t cut it! In fact, that is as big red cross off your fitness survival list.
At work the other day, a friend had me hysterical as he coined this disorder as “Exercise Bulimia”. We cannot workout to eat, we need to eat smart calories to fuel our bodies that will energize us throughout the day. Bottom line, your nutrition goal is to consume a diet full of whole, clean foods that will compliment your fitness routine, encouraging you to push your strong body to the next level of physical success.
The biggest problem you will face by saving your appetite for a party is the urge to over-indulge on too much food, simply because you are hungry. While the food looks amazing and probably tastes great, try to eat a small meal before you arrive so you fight the temptation to eat everything in sight. At barbeques, look for grilled chicken and simple salads and understand that even one glass of wine can add over 100 calories to your meal. Moderation is key and be committed to keeping portions small and lean when eating foods that are outside your daily plate.
If you are not pre-planning by having healthy food on-deck and available to you everyday, you are setting yourself up for failure…no joke! We’ve all been here…You start to feel weak, your blood sugar drops, you are starving and you are not prepared with nutritious foods that are ready to eat. Disaster strikes and you grab whatever is in front of you, helpless and weak. Ten minutes later you are completely disgusted with yourself after inhaling those 2 big, fat slices of pepperoni pizza! Oh, the guilt is just killing you inside as you realize that one very wrong meal has absolutely deleted the hard work you completed in the gym the day before. Not only should you invest in some sturdy plastic, top-locking containers that stack securely in your fridge, you need to make time to plan your meals for the week so they are ready to go. Be prepared, be organized and be strong!
Your Body is Your Engine
Eating too many calories at once encourages the body to store calories for future use. In basic terms, it promotes fat to stick to you! When sitting down to a meal, you must have the mentality that you only need to eat enough food to keep your belly happy for about 3 hours. Training your body to use calories that are supplied in small blocks throughout the day will result in a high-fired metabolism, ready to ignite again as you digest more clean foods a few hours later. Small, frequent meals throughout the day not only promote a leaner and tighter-looking physique, but it will prevent your insulin level from plunging, making you happier and less likely to binge and overeat.
Simply give up on eating anything white! Breads, pastas, refined sugars, enriched flour…need I say more? White edibles are our enemy! I include dairy products on that list, but I’m pretty extreme. One little teaspoon of sugar opens up the door to those mean, little sugar monsters that tell your brain to keep eating sugar all day long, no joke! They are truly relentless and once you let them in your little belly, they don’t want to leave. There are very few, if any nutritional gains made by eating enriched, processed white carbohydrates such as breads and pastas. In fact, once you eliminate them you will feel more energized, less bloated and more satisfied. Carbohydrates from whole grains, yams or sweet potatoes, wild and brown rices are key, as they breakdown slower and steadier in the digestion process. Take is a step further and go gluten-free, like me, and avoid eating wheat as much as possible.
Saturating your body with clean water throughout the day is crucial for metabolism, digestion and avoiding water retention. Water supplies you with the feeling of fullness, while promoting digestion and thirst. If you do not already own a BPA-free 32 ounce water bottle, grab one today and fill it at least 4 times-a-day with fresh water! A minimum of one-gallon a day is crucial for any exercise advocate. In fact, I try to reach my hydration goal of drinking 2 gallons a day.
Your nutrition and exercise plans are partners that need to fit like a puzzle. Once you get them to locked in place, you are headed for miraculous benefits that will not only compliment your physique, but elevate your soul to a place of bliss. Yes, we are human and should enjoy eating our favorite meals and snacks. I can’t even imagine never biting into a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie again; makes me drool just writing about it!
Life is about enjoyment and true enjoyment is found by living a life in a body that is properly nourished with high-quality foods that truly make you feel and perform your best. We are many against a world of highly-processed foods that are killing our spirit and growing our size, but with a little extra will-power, you too can reap the rewards of conscious eating.